Doug Stockdale's Singular Images

November 17, 2007

LensWork, issue 74, Jan/Feb 2008

Filed under: In Passing, Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , , — Doug Stockdale @ 7:07 am

Halloween Costume

Ok, so what about LensWork, issue 74, to be published January/February 2008?  Because that is going to be the issue that my series Bad Trip – Sad Trip (subsequently titled In Passing) is going to be published in!!

I received notification from LensWork earlier this week while I was in JiaXing. I have scheduled the interview with Brooks for early next week to develop the podpcast. So more details to follow…

Best regards, Doug

Travel log: camera gear I lugged

Filed under: Photography — Doug Stockdale @ 6:46 am

Shanghai afternoon

Well, I have been doing some blog reads, like non-stop.  I gotta admit, I missed them!

Seems that Paul Butzi just got back from China as I was leaving.  As he was doing the tourist route, his choice of eqquipment (just a Canon G9) was different than mine.  Also, as he said, he went wide and turns out, I went deep.  As a result of this being my second trip to China this year, I had a idea of my base camp (Marriott hotel in Shanghai, not really roughing it, eh?)  and that I was going to be hunkered down with one vendor in a city (JiaXing) about an hour and half car ride South of Shanghai for two weeks. I also knew that I had mornings before 8am to photograph (sunrise about 6ish), so I had some time to roam around.  I also had the experience of the last trip not having my tripod and REALLY regretting it.

So here is my camera kit:

Canon EOS XTi (10.1 Mp)

17 – 40 mm f/4 L lens (primary), the 70 – 200 mm f/4 L lens, stuffed in my Tenba camera bag, with 2 each 2 Gig CF cards and 2 camera batteries and the battery charger. Also a CF card reader to download my files to my slug (5 year old Pent3) Dell portable (30 Gig which I filled by the last day) and the Dell is loaded with Photoshop CS3 to do my black and white mojo for posting. I also needed the Dell for the client work, so I could justify lugging that brick along with me. Finally the Gitzo carbon fiber tripod with the RSS 40 ball head, in a Tenba carring case (fits in my big suit case to check) which I wrote about recently.

Back up batteries and extra CF card a must. I toted the extra battery and CF card with me all of the time and glad I did on a couple of occasions.

The tripod is a now a MUST, can’t really do the night, early morning or evening pictures without it.  So you just gotta get one that is small enough to fit in your bag, but substanial enough to make it worthwhile.

Only issue was the L bracket from RRS keep kinking the Canon electonic release cable while the Canon was in the Horizontal position. I think that there is not enought clearance to keep it clear all of the time, you have to make sure it does not get pinched.  I think I need a new cable now.  So the last couple of days, I was using the shutter release button on the camera for some long exposures.  In retrospect, I was jet lagged and tired, and could have had used the mirror up function with the timer.  I read some where about the grips with the Canon and their funky mirror up function on the menu, and I will second that their mirror-up process sucks. Okay, maybe I’m a little cranky, but the other camera manufacturers have figured this out, duh.

Okay, so that’s what I brought, what worked (just about all) and what was a pain.  I would probably do it all again and probably will if I need to head back there again shortly;- )

Best regards, Doug

BTW, this image is from the 39th floor of the JW Marriott (resturaunt) in downtown Shanghai. And I did use the tripod, but I had to smash the camera lens up to the window to try to kill any window glare and had to crop slightly to eliminate what I could not compensate for during the componsition.  I used the PSC3 on my portable and not sure that I have the foreground right, I need to look at this again on my calibrated monitor when I get home (yep, still in Tokyo).  Also part of going deep, as I have stayed here a couple of times before and I really like this particular composition, so I was prepared.  When these clouds started to break up, I had to run from the lunch group and capture this image!  I can be a little anti-social on occasion!

Travel log: I left China today

Filed under: Photography — Doug Stockdale @ 5:02 am

South Lake, JiaXing

South Lake, JiaXing, China

I left Shanghai this morning and I am currently at my four hour layover in the Tokyo Airport and guess what?  I can access my blog again!!

You might say that I have a few things to post and comment about.  But the first is the ‘radio silence’ of all blogs in China.  I tried for the first week to try to figure a way around the buggers, but I eventually gave up. Oh, well it did make me realize that I might be addicted to the blogging, not being able to post a daily image or thought was almost as bad as not getting access to email, but yes, I did have access to email.

The thing is, I will need to be back in China again, perhaps as soon as in three weeks.  My client project for a technology transfer did not go smoothly.  But that whole issue is for a different audience.  But the take away is that I need to figure out a process to get images and thougths over to this blog, so I will nooodle on that for a bit.

Besides not being able to post (my exception in a moment), I was also not able to access most of the other blogs, for the same reason.  Since I was able to view and post to the collaborative blog Stills (see blogroll) that I participate in, I think that I  have broken their code.  The China internet will not allow any web sites that are two words with a dot seperation, e.g. www.singularimages.wordpress.com as they have determined that this is a blog web addresss.  If the blog is administered directly from a web site, such as Stills, it is not blocked!  Although Stills uses the Blogger front end, the actual blog is admin by Colin from his server, thus the trancated web site name does not get dedicted.  So that is another alternative, manage my blog from my own server. hmmmm. NOT.  That is beyond my capablities and interest, sorry.

Well, I have some other admin tasks to manage, such as approve some other nice comments and do some blog reading….as well as I have one more great thing to announce shortly…

Best regards, Doug

By the way, I did try one experiement that I had to check before adding this note, since I could access Blogger front panel to get to Stills, I then tried to set up a new blog (www.singularimages.blogspot.com) on Blogger as a work around.  Well that was a good news, bad news event. I was able to set up the new blog, with an original name (NOT!), chose a template, and then post some images.  BUT I was still not able to see the results!! darn. BooBang!  So I had no idea of how it was looking until just a moment ago.  Well using that blog site is an alternative, but much like bowling in the dark, roll the ball but you have no idea of what pins you knocked down.  So perhaps I will try to improve that blog as my back up plan?? Is that going to be a pain for you all???  Oh well, some more things to noodle about, but in the meantime, I will continue to keep that blog as a back up plan…..

November 3, 2007

Travel Log: A Travel Day

Filed under: Photography — Doug Stockdale @ 7:25 am

Well Traveled Path

In less than a hour, we catch a taxi for the Frankfurt airport, next stop is Hong Kong for my connection to Shanghai.  We leave this afternoon, but arrive in Hong Kong in the morning, thus in Shanghai by noon their time.  And yes, my body’s travel clock will be a mess again.

If you don’t see as many posts on this blog over the next two weeks, you will  know that it is not for a lack of trying. Although the connection here has been spotty at best, I know that it can be worse in China.  The last trip, we were fortunate that the client had a decent connection that they allowed us to us.  Perhaps we will be as lucky again;- )

BTW, I thought the title for this image is “A well Traveled Path”, which if you note yesterdays post and image, this was taken shortly after.  This path runs along the base of the castle’s foundation.  So its been here a long, long time and a path that did not become a road or other passageway here in the old section of Marburg.

Well, I gotta zip the bag and hoist it down to the lobby and pay the bill, so see ya on the flip side!

Best regards, Doug

November 2, 2007

Path Not Taken

Filed under: Photography — Doug Stockdale @ 4:29 pm

Path Not Taken

I took a very long walk this morning and I only got lost twice, not bad!  So in the early afternoon when I returned to the hotel for a potty break, I asked for a local map at the front desk. Duh!

Anyhow, I had made this image about mid morning, before stopping for a cup of kaffe and tried to get an Apple Struddel, but appareantly that is a Bavarian treat.  I now understand why we enjoyed our three month assignment in Munich a little better. So I still purchased an apple thing, which was not bad, but not the same. It was during one of those ‘lost’ moments. So after some proper nurishment, I was able to get my bearings. No sun and still overcast, thus this former Boyscout can still get lost.  The good news in this town is once you find signs to the castle (Schloss), you can find your way back.

Internet service is an issue in the hotel, so making piece meal additions to this post. I’ve already completed one set, then to lose the connection and lose what I had added. Grrrrr

This afternoon after heading back towards the castle because I wanted to repeat some of my night images in the ‘daylight’, it started to mist and drizzle. And my umbrella was back in the hotel. Oh well.  But I made the most of it and I’ll work on one or two of the images tonight.

Martin commented earlier today about my images that I have made while I am in Germany.  I do find most of Europe exotic, especially from the perspective that my city is less than 15 years old and my house is about 12 years old.  Southern California is realitely new compared to most of the Europe cities.  Thus I bring with me ‘different’ eyes than if I was born here.  I will see things differently, but I also am attacted to certain things that will stop me as I cruise through the area.  I find doors, windows, pathways, cobblestone roads, old brick or stone walls very fasinating.  Wonderful textures that reflect the light in very unique ways.  Perhaps while I like these things should be left to a shrink, because I don’t know.  Perhaps they represent alternatives, decisions, options, journeys and other similar things.  As well as the textures are very different than what we have available.  Add to that, Southern California is almost a desert, so any abundance of vegetation is very interesting.

As to this image, two paths, two alternatives, two different decisions. One is straight and narrow, the other is full of bends.  (And as my little brother would start to sing, “you take the high road and I take the low road…etc, etc.”) A nice little metaphor, as well as a bunch of wonderful textures and the image allows my mind to wander….

Best regards, Doug

BTW, technical update, but as Colin has made changes to the blog Stills (see Blogroll), we can now post images 750 wide (vs 650 wide), as I will sometimes post the same image in both places, when I want to get additional image feedback.

Travel Log: Marburg day 5

Filed under: Photography — Doug Stockdale @ 8:44 am

Old Marburg Steps

It is a cool and overcast morning in Marburg today, so my photography venture this morning should be interesting. Yesterday we completed what we set out to do for this week, so as a result, I have a day to roam about the area.  Nice.

I did hike up to the castle last night, but there were no compeling sights that caused me to set-up my camera and tripod. Unlike the night before, there was no fog and we had a very good view of the valley and city top.

My photo in todays post was from the night before when we had the foggy conditions. From the old city plaza, there is a path way up to the castle, which is where this image was made.  The lighting was very tricky and I think that I created the mood that I had experienced that evening with the cool fog evoloping the area.

Well, I have just finished my coffee and the conditions are still the same outside, so its time to be off and at them and see what interesting places that I can find.

Best regards, Doug

November 1, 2007

Travel Log: Still in Marburg

Filed under: Photography — Doug Stockdale @ 9:12 am

Marburg portage

Marburg portage (walk way into the old City), which was taken a couple of hours prior to my run into with the Marburg castle ghosts.  The evening fog was just coming in, but it was not very dense yet at this point. 

I tried to create a little more color separation with the covered passage way just beyond the stairs, but proving to be difficult, as it would help with my black and white adjustment layer mojo. I will think about this some more, as I still have another two nights in Marburg to work with this composition. It’s about one minute from my hotel, almost right across the street.

Best regards, Doug

It was a dark and foggy night….

Filed under: Photography — Doug Stockdale @ 12:59 am

Copyright Douglas Stockdale 2007

It was foggy on our drive today, which made for some wonderful Fall colors. After a dinner with the team, it seemed like the fog was coming back in again.  Honestly, it seemed like it was not going to be any problems taking a eventing stroll with the camera and tripod.  So I headed towards the old (Alt) part of Marburg, a city located in the Northern section of Germany.  I just wish someone would have warned me.

So the fog was rolling in alright and wandering around town was very interesting. The old buildings, some dated back to the 1500’s and the winding streets were neat.  And eveywhere I looked, a sea of stairs.  I was a happy camper, but I did not know that I was wondering off in the wrong direction.  So I just kept setting up the tripod and making a session of long exposures.  And I kept climbing up these really interesting staircases, with the old style lamps, etc. I did not notice that the lamps were getting farther apart.  And there were less people getting into my images (yeah, I am not a “people” photographer).  It did not dawn on me that it might be an issue in wandering up dark staircases with the fog getting progressively thicker.  And the night seemed darker as more of the adjacent house lights dimmed out.  And by the time I had realized where I was, it was already too late.

I was at the base of the Marburg castle.  And it was getting really dark and really foggy. And there was absolutely no one around.  But I was still ‘focused’ on my images, but then I heard a different sound. I guess that is when I noticed the hair on the back of my neck kinda standing on end.  And the air started to really get chilly. Huh? I now started to remember the stories about this castle. And it was too late, cuz I was where I should not have been.

The sounds were slowly coming down the dimmly lit path in front of me.  A slow shuffling sound, very soft but very distinct. And slowly out of the fog the forms started to materialize. Yikes! What ever it was, it was heading right for me! My camera was set up on the tripod and I had located it somewhere in the dark on the side of the path. I could not just run off down the path and leave that gear there. So I froze, with my right hand still on the cable release.  And now what ever they were was almost upon me, so I instinctly fired off one last exposure.  Maybe this would be enough to help who ever found me. And they still kept coming right at me.

And then they journed right through me!!!  The chill that came over me was clammy and cold!

I had just witnessed and experienced the ghosts of the Marburg castle!

And I was still alive.  And I had made an exposure.  So I did a quick check of my captured image and sure enough I had captured them. I had just made a photograph of the ghosts of Marburg Castle!

But after hot footing it back down to the old town, eveyone I showed my image to just told me that I had made a long exposure of some of the kids fooling around.

Didn’t I know it was Halloween???

Well, perhaps it is back in the USA, but I know what I saw up there on that dark foggy path at the base of Marburg Castle. And here’s the photograph to prove it. That’s my story and I am going to stick to it ;-D

Best regards, Doug

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